A Manassas woman has been convicted of distributing cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to sell.
A jury recommended a sentence of 30 years and a fine of $30,000 on each count for Shirley Marie Billingsley. Sentencing has been set for January.
Lt. Ron Sullins, head of the Prince William-Manassas Narcotics Strike Force, said in an interview that juries in Prince William County are sending a message to drug dealers by imposing high sentences. For example, Bayardo Arce was sentenced in July to 40 years in state prison in connection with his conviction on possession of a kilo of cocaine.
"The message is, don't sell dope in Prince William County," Sullins said. "People are tired of what drugs are doing to the community and they are willing to impose sentences to deter that activity."
The Billingsley conviction ends a two-year investigation by Prince William County narcotics officers, who say she supplied crack in the western section of the county for several years.
Billingsley was arrested Feb. 23 when a search warrant was served at her home in the 9800 block of Nimitz Court in Manassas, police records show.
The investigation into Billingsley's activities included warrant searches of at least seven other homes where police believe her workers operated. Several people were arrested, including Billingsley's son William Branch, and Lennox Carol. Branch and Carol, who were charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell, were convicted and sentenced earlier this year to five years in federal prison, police said.
Billingsley is being held without bail in the Prince William-Manassas Adult Detention Center.